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Full text of "NightRider"

350

He shrugged his shoulders, and rose from his chair. Doctor
MacDonald had said, " Well a man goes his own gait." And
that was true.

He walked idly about the office, in which the light was
getting dim. His eyes rested upon the familiar objects: the
tall walnut bookcases with the glass in the doors cracked, the
stacks of books and papers, dust-covered, in chairs against the
wall, the other chair, the chair where Mrs. Trevelyan had sat
that day, the filing cabinets, the pictures, the rifle and the
shotgun propped in a corner with old envelopes drawn over
the muzzles to save them from dust. He had brought the
shotgun back from the Christian place, he remembered, after
his last bird hunt with Mr. Christian. They had had a good
afternoon, that last afternoon, no wind, the sky clear and
distant with a tinge of frosty gray, like iron, on the northern
horizon as the sun got low, the dogs working in the tawny
sagegrass beyond a cedar grove. He had brought the gun
back here the next morning, had set it in the corner, and
had put the envelope over the muzzle. How long ago that
seemed! But he had not used the rifle for more than two
years. He had not touched it except to oil it, not since the
time he went down to Reelfoot Lake deer-hunting. He had
not killed a deer with the rifle that trip. The only deer he
had killed had been brought down with a charge of buckshot
at less than fifteen paces. He had been leaning against an oak
near the run, and the deer had appeared, momentarily motion-
less, with lifted head, an easy shot. At night the men had
sat in a cabin around a stove, their belts loosened and a
whisky bottle on the table, warm with the fire and the food
and the drink and in the surety of comradeship. But now he
could not even remember the name of one of the men. That,
too, was a long time back.

The things you remembered, they were what you were.
But every time you remembered them you were different.
For a long time you would not notice any difference, as you
noticed no difference in the spring when, day after day in the
warm nights, the leaves thickened on the boughs, or in the